THE past few days have been happy ones for cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan, especially those in Karachi and Lahore, as the country endeavours to emerge from a prolonged negative phase.
There have been some calls about how the three games organised as part of the PSL finale in Lahore and Karachi had made it difficult for many to go about their daily business. But these complaints have either not been pressed or have been put on hold for a later discussion in the backdrop of the larger picture of international cricket in the country.
The PCB must be applauded, in particular its chairman Najam Sethi, who has promised many more games spread over many more venues in Pakistan next year, and who moved with determination to achieve the goal of reviving international cricket in the country.
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As the tournament brought top-level cricketers and a clutch of international names to Pakistan over the last few days, there were a number of statements from politicians who also claimed credit for the PSL homecoming. Some were clearly more deserving of the applause than others, but again, while due praise has been bestowed upon all those out to bring back a normal Pakistan, perhaps the administrations in the cities where the games were held have not been appreciated enough.
It was by no means an easy event to organise and the administrations, evident in the manner in which they have organised the latest PSL show, gave the people enough confidence to boldly take part in the ongoing exercise to dispel the notion that Pakistan’s soil is not safe for international competition.
This confidence in the ability of the organisers is essential. It is apparent that the PSL has not as yet drawn the cream of international talent. Quite a lot has been said about how foreign cricketers can be bound by contract to feature in games staged here, while others have pointed out that they cannot be forced to come to the country.
The truth is that there can be no alternative to building — gradually and patiently — an atmosphere free of fear that encourages the best in the business to be part of the PSL.
In this context, this year was an improvement over the last one, even though, technically, there are areas that need review.
It is ultimately about who scores how much; the spectators naturally longed for power-packed exhibitions, and they might have felt a little underserved with the runs, with no side managing to cross the 200-run barrier during the entire league.
New territory will be explored with practice — this being a very young league still.
The show, and the talent, will only get richer once we make a habit of playing not just in Karachi and Lahore but in other cities of Pakistan as well.
Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2018